The proposed anti-terrorism laws which are being pushed by the government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown have run into strong opposition in the House of Lords. Senior peers indicated they regarded the idea of holding suspects for up to 42 days to be a concept being pushed for political reasons that was unconstitutional. A House of Lords report will claim extending the period of detention beyond 28 days has “serious implications” for the finely balanced separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The report insists the decision to extend detention should be left to the hands of judges, and not under the control of politicians.
Baroness Manningham-Butler, former head of MI5 made an important point in declaring: “In deciding what I believe on these matters, I have weighed up the balance between the right to life– the most important civil liberty– the fact there there is no such thing as complete security and the importance of our hard-won civil liberties.”
Amen to this defense of civil liberties.